Olympic-related sailors Netra Kumanan and Vishnu Saravanan said Thursday they would participate in the upcoming Games in Tokyo without much expectation, treating it as a training exercise.
In a historic first, four Indian sailors – Saravanan (laser standard), Kumanan (laser radial) and Vishnu Ganapati and Varun Thakar (49er Scythian) – made the Olympics during the Asian qualifiers in Oman earlier this month. This is also the first time that India will compete in three sailing competitions at the Olympic Games.
“We will go to the games without much expectation. We will see where we are against the world level. This will be a great learning process for us,” Kumanan said in a virtual media interaction supported by the Sports Authority of India.
Saravanan said it would be important for them to stay cool like former national cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Doni as they compete in the upcoming Tokyo Games.
“I will be happy to finish in the top 50 percent. There is no pressure because we know we are not there yet. We are young and have room to learn more. The whole nation has so much hope for us, but we have to be as cool as MS Dhoni and do your job, “he said.
The Indian sailors had a training camp, funded at 1.29 crore by the Ministry of Sports, in Oman 15 days before the Olympic qualifying event.
For the Olympic cycle since the beginning of 2017, the ministry has provided funding to seafarers through the Yachting Association of India. An amount of 12.11 kroner is given as part of the Annual Competition and Training Calendar (ACTC).
Asked how he felt after qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, Kumanan said: “We are glad that the Olympic dream has finally been achieved. It is a huge step to be at the Olympics.
“It has brought a lot of light to sailing and I hope a lot of people will take advantage of it. I am also honored to be the first female sailor from India to reach the Olympics.”
Saravanan, for his part, said: “The qualification in Oman has exhausted a lot of energy from us. We trained hard and knew that our boat speed was good. The Olympic qualification brought a lot of recognition to sailing and help in the coming years. Thanks to the Indian Sports Authority for the choice us in (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) TOPS “, he said.
“It’s becoming expensive at a high level and we want new equipment, and the sailing society is producing new equipment every day. We have to train with the best guys and we need a lot of budgets.”
Kumanan added, “Being in TOPS will provide many benefits to our travel expenses. We are extremely grateful for that and it will give us an extra incentive to perform best at the Olympics.”